Buying and installing a TV antenna can be very rewarding or downright frustrating. There are so many antenna to choose from. There are small flat indoor antennas, antennas claiming 150 mile range and the list goes on. How do you choose the best antenna for your area. Any antenna will work somewhere sometime. What you need to know is which antenna will work at your location all of the time.
There's so much hype and you need to separate the hype from the facts. I think Ken Nist stated it best on his website HDTV Primer. He said, "Antenna marketing is a racket in that the less honest you are the more antennas you sell. (Nobody goes to court over a TV antenna)".
Assuming you want reliable TV reception 24/7 TV reception here are two things
you should know when selecting the best TV antenna for your area.
1. Reliable TV reception from more than 80 miles is very unlikely. TV signals travel a straight line. They do not curve with the Earth. When the distance from the TV station transmitter to the receiving antenna is greater than 80 mile the Earth will block the signal and reception is lost with few exceptions. No antenna can receive a signal that's not present at the antenna. The distance a TV signal can be received will also be effected by the terrain between the transmitting and receiving antennas.
2. Plug and play (indoor antennas) work but and limited areas close to the TV transmitters. An indoor antenna may work for you but reliable 24/7 reception on all channels is unlikely in most areas. When using an indoor antenna usually no one antenna location near the TV will receive all available channels. Most people who use an indoor antenna have to relocate or adjust the antenna to receive certain channels. Indoor antennas are also effected by the building materials used to construct your home or your neighbors home. Brick, metal, foil and masonry all hinder if not prevent TV signal from entering your home. Movement in your home or cars passing by may also effect the reception of an indoor antenna. My advice is if you determine the signals are strong at your location and the building materials are suitable for reception an indoor antenna may work most of the time. You may want to try one. I suggest you check the return policy before you buy.
The best TV antenna for your area will be the one that works and provides reliable reception day after day. If you are considering a TV antenna I suggest you first get all of the reception data available for your location. You can do this by visiting the FCC DTV maps web page >.
Choosing the best TV antenna for my area using the FCC page >.
The data that appears on the FCC page is very important when choosing the best TV antenna for your area.
Each channel is assigned a color code according to the channels estimated strength at your location. This column determines the size and performance capabilities of the TV antenna that is best for your area.
Green = strong.
Yellow = moderate
Brown = weak
Red = very weak (no signal)
The Ch# column on the FCC page is the virtual channel number of the TV station. This number may or may not be the real channel number of the TV station transmitting signal or it may be the virtual channel number.
See: Virtual vs. Real channels >.
The band column is very important. This column indicates the real channel frequency of the TV station. Lo-V means the transmitting signal is low VHF channels 2-6. Hi-V means channels 7-13. UHF is channels 14 and up.
When choosing the best TV antenna for your area the band is very important. This column tells you what type of antenna you need to receive all TV channels in your area. Most areas have both VHF and UHF TV channels. Unfortunately, most TV antennas on the market today are designed for UHF TV signals. That means the VHF channels will not be received if the antenna is designed for UHF. To make matters worse many of the antennas that are designed for UHF falsely claim to be for both VHF and UHF TV signals.
See: Why are most TV antennas designed wrong? >
See: What's the difference between a VHF and UHF TV antenna >
Click on the call sign
Click on the call sign and information specific to that channel will appear and the transmitter location will display on the map. The RF channel is the real channel number the TV station is broadcasting the signal on. Distance and direction to the transmitter will also be displayed.
By now you should know the strength of the TV signals, the direction to the transmitters and the real broadcast channel frequency. You're ready to choose the best TV antenna for my area.
Chances are your area has both VHF and UHF TV signals. Here are my recommendations for the best TV antenna for your area. The recommendations below are based on the antennas installed above your roof at least 20 feet above ground level.
For strong and moderate signal strengths. VHF and UHF TV signals I recommend the EZ HD antenna >.
For strong, moderate and weak signals. VHF and UHF TV signals I recommend the HD Stacker antenna >
I hope this page helps you select the best TV antenna for your area. If you have questions feel free to contact me > or visit our Product and knowledge support page >.
Before you decide to buy my antenna please ask me if a TV antenna will work where you live by using the link below.
Denny's Antenna Service
Helping America Watch Free TV Since 1988